Networking company Cisco aims to make its IP Interoperability and Collaboration System (IPICS) technology available to the local market, with the public sector being its main target. advertisement

This comes after successful implementations and case studies in Europe and the US. According to Cisco systems engineer Wessel Pieterse, the technology, because it is based on an open standard, will bring a great level of interoperability to organisations that currently use a large number of wireless (push to talk, cellular, WLAN) and wired networks to achieve their operational and emergency service goals. The IPICS technology provides communications interoperability between disparate push-to-talk (radio) systems and other voice, video, and data networks.

With IPICS, both proprietary and standards-based push-to-talk radios should be able to interoperate not only with each other but also with analogue phones and other IP-based wired and wireless devices, including cellular phones, Wi-Fi notebook PCs, PDAs and IP phones.

He explained that in many cases, lack of interoperability and collaboration has prevented many to achieve good levels of efficiency in delivering either better customer service, asset tracking or even saving lives.

According to Cisco, the public sector, which handles the nation's emergency services, is a perfect target for IPICS because communications interoperability, data integration and true collaboration between departments and organisations are serious problems in many market segments including enterprise safety/security/loss prevention, transportation, retail, financial and public safety. “Cisco views IP as the future for all communications systems,” says Charles Giancarlo, Cisco Systems chief development officer. “Cisco IPICS technology has the potential to deliver a platform to provide an inexpensive solution for pervasive radio interoperability that helps organisations dynamically manage the flow of all types of information.”

The company says that with IPICS, enterprises will benefit from vitalising different resources and making intelligent decisions based on parameters such as time, user roles and responsibilities; on the other hand, public utilities such as hospitals can use the technology to integrate ambulances with the front office and provide notification systems for doctors and nurses. The technology will not call for government departments nor corporates to uproot their existing infrastructures because it simply extends the reach of the existing radios to new communication systems, without requiring a replacement of any of the existing radios or communications equipment or changing the way they use their existing radios.